NEWS FROM THE UAE
Excerpts from UAE Dailies
Domestic Violence among Indian Community is on the risein Dubai
Dubai - Oct. 27: Domestic violence among the Indian community in Dubai happens at an alarming rate, lawyers and consular officials have said. Their concern comes as tough new laws protecting women from domestic violence were introduced by the Indian government yesterday. The new measures mean wife beaters face a jail term of up to one year and/or a fine of up to 20,000 rupees (dhs1600).
But the law is only applicable in India and the problem is so disturbing here the Indian Consulate has appointed two psychiatrists to counsel families with domestic issues. According to officials the problems have even led to several suicides. K Kumar, president of the Indian Community Welfare Committee (ICWC), the social wing of the Indian Consulate in Dubai, said: “The main reasons for abuse are alcoholism, extravagant spending on gambling, regular visits to dance bars and suspicion of possible extra marital affairs. The issue is indeed very serious and alarming.”
He added: “While strong women apply for a divorce, weaker ones have even attempted suicide. Divorce rates among expatriate Indian families in Dubai are very high. We have been trying to help by offering counsellors.” Lawyer Shamsuddin Karunagappally, of Dubai based Al Cabban Advocate and Consultancy, said he had dealt with many cases of domestic abuse.
Although there are no specific laws in Dubai against wife battering, criminal law is being applied to cases where women report physical abuse by husbands. Karunagappally said: “Many of these families end up being divorced. There are also several cases where abusive husbands have been punished. With the new law women can now even get back to India and file a case against abusive husbands.
“The perception still exists among some men that they are superior to women. Similarly women too are equally at fault for not standing up for their rights,” said Karunagappally, adding that many women even refuse to register a complaint. He told 7DAYS: “Unless the women come forward and try to punish their abusive husbands one cannot expect any results. Many wives continue to remain silent because of social pressure. They do not want to be alienated in a society which judges them.”
ONE WOMAN’S STORY:
Mother-of-two Zahira (not her real name) had been married for five years when her husband Ismael (name changed) started abusing her. Ismael suspected her of having an affair, subjecting her to a barrage of physical and emotional abuse in which he threatened to abandon her and brought other women to the house.
She tried to apply for a divorce but was stopped from doing so by relatives. The pressure became too much and one day she tried to commit suicide by slitting her wrists. Neighbours found her bleeding severely and admitted her to hospital in Dubai where she decided to leave her husband for good. Today she has found a job as a secretary and is taking care of her two children. She has also filed a petition for divorce.
Zahira said, “A boy in his early 20s used to help me in household chores and even fetch groceries. Ismael started accusing me of having a relationship with him. There used to be fights and arguments everyday and very soon he started abusing and beating me. “Life had already become hell and it turned out to be worse when Ismael came home with another girl. I could not tolerate it. I was so fed up that I decided to commit suicide and slit my wrist. But I regret the decision today. I am alone now but happy.”
Tragic family to be buried
Dubai - Oct.27: The bodies of the family of four who were burnt to death in a road accident will be buried today in Dubai after the relatives arrived from India. Dastagir Patel was driving home with his wife and two children after a get-together at Mushraf Park, when a speeding four-wheel-drive vehicle rammed into them. Their car caught fire and all four were burnt to death.
Dastagir’s parents, his two sisters and two brothers were on their way to Dubai last night. “They could not believe it at first. They are still shocked,” said Naveed Syed Basher, a close friend of Dastagir. An employee of Mashreq Bank, Dastagir had been living in Dubai since 2001. His two children Mohammed Ali, 12, and Sana, nine, were students of Modern High School and Dubai Scholars.
The accident occurred at around 7pm when Dastagir was taking a u-turn on Al Khawaneej Road to go towards his house in Deira. The family’s bodies were charred beyond recognition and were identified only based on the driving licence and mobile phone that Dastagir was carrying. His wife Saleha, 30, was identified through the bangles that she was wearing.
Police are reported to have told Dastagir’s friends that the accident was caused by a UAE national, driving his vehicle at more than 150kph. The man has been admitted to hospital with very serious injuries. His vehicle hit the petrol tank of Dastagir’s car, causing it to explode immediately, leaving the family trapped inside to die.
Health policy must for new work permits
ABU DHABI — Oct. 26: An employer cannot apply for work permit to recruit an expatriate labourer unless his firm has obtained the membership of the newly enforced health insurance scheme, according to official sources.
“It is not premissible for the employer to apply for work permit if he hasn’t opted for the national health insurance scheme,” an official source at the General Authority for Health Services for the emirate of Abu Dhabi (GAHS) told Khaleej Times.
An initial stage of a national health insurance project was enforced on July 1 this year and included companies sponsoring more than 1,000 expatriate employees.
The new health insurance law that phased out the existing health card system came into being under a presidential decree that targets forcing employers to bear treatment expenses required by their employees in accordance with clear regulations. “Linking membership of the health insurance to issuance of work permit is vital to ensure the commitment of employers to insuring their staff. We have adopted all steps needed to make sure that employers abide by the law,” said the source.
Several expatriates were concerned about whether the scheme would introduce effective binding measures to guarantee compliance of employers regarding medical expenses. The health insurance membership will be compulsory for businessmen to renew their commercial licence, said the source.
“As per the law, businessmen will not be allowed to renew commercial licence unless they obtained membership of the health insurance for their staff.”
On January 1 next year, the second phase of the health insurance scheme is scheduled to be implemented for all expatriates residing and working in the capital.
“Naturalisation and residency authorities in the emirate will not process or even accept transations on issuing or renewing residence visa if applications were not attached with a health insurance policy,” said the source.
The health insurance project is being viewed by expats as a sign of relief from exorbitant medical expenses.
MoL not to slap fines on labour cards expiring during Eid week
ABU DHABI — Oct. 26: The Ministry of Labour (MoL) will not take action in cases where labour cards and the 60-day grace period expired during the Eid holidays this week.
Ahmed Kajor, Under-Secretary of the Ministry of Labour, told Khaleej Times, “This week is out of our calculations to impose fines on the expired labour cards or the 60-day grace period.”
“We will take necessary action in the matter next week (Sunday October 29 to Thursday November 2).”
Kajor said, “According to the procedures and the Labour Law, the employer should obtain a labour card for the recruited worker within 60 days of the latter’s arrival to the UAE. And if the employer fails to do so, he/she would be liable for the payment of the fines due thereon.”
In cases of default, the MoL advises the workers to notify labour department to take the necessary action against the employer.